Thanks for all of the responses guys...
Breaking down point #1 a little more from above, Tim you're probably right that I could go either direction in terms of how to brand the site. Although a couple other factors are that 1) writing has turned into the one aspect of the business I absolutely love and I sincerely don't ever want to completely give it up, and 2) despite having talented guys writing for me and I like what they're putting out, coelescing them into a clear vision has felt a bit like herding cats.
As you probably know by now, I don't care about fame or status or becoming a "legend" in the eyes of my readers. It actually makes me uncomfortable. That's something I learned a long time ago. But what I have learned the past six months is that it's much easier to create loyalty, enthusiasm and sales when I'm the bulk of the brand.
I like some of the crowd-sourcing ideas Jorge puts out, but implementing those kinds of features may be beyond my technical paygrade at the moment.
One website that I think achieves an excellent balance between a single person brand, while having other writers and crowd-sourcing content is Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish."
It's a US politics website, that's extremely smart and informed. It's mostly Andrew just riffing on the news of the day, but hundreds of readers email him, and he reposts selected comments and his responses to them. Often large debates or discussions will erupt between dozens of readers with him as kind of the moderator. He does have interns. And not all of his posts are written by him. And he's by no means a self-aggrandizer (he often gets proven wrong by his readers or comes out and takes back a position or stance that he had). But similar to what I'm going for, the appeal to him, and loyalty to him are that 1) he's smart and overlooks a lot of the bullshit out there, and 2) he's honest, and when he's wrong, he'll come out and say he's wrong... something that's almost completely void in American political discussion today.
Now, obviously PM is not a politics website and will not ever be putting up 50 blog posts in a single day like he does, but I like the balance he achieves on this, between personal brand and overall philosophy and style.
The other factor to consider is that the current trend that the internet is causing is it's fragmenting content to a much more personal level. This is something Gary Vaynerchuk talks about all the time, but that as more and more time goes on, people are interested in finding and relating to PEOPLE they respect and look up to, not companies. I haven't seen any hard data on this, and I don't know how true it is, but it is something to consider. The internet allows for much more intimate conversations and connections between content-provider and reader... My guess is that a large amount of AskMen's traffic does not come back frequently. Almost half of my traffic does. And it used to be more.
I guess both can be viable routes, it just depends on priorities...
Or hell, maybe I just miss writing a lot, and this is me rationalizing my way into doing it again...